Setting Up and Editing SMS Appointment Reminders

You can use automated SMS appointment reminders to improve your attendance rates. This article contains information about the following:

 

(1) Activating your SMS features

(2) Selecting the SMS notice period

(3) Choosing your SMS reminder type

(4) Customising your SMS content

(5) Changing SMS reminder settings for individual clients and appointments

 

(1) Activating Your SMS Features

Your SMS features are automatically activated when you start your free trial. This setting is found under Setup> Configuration> Reminders.


(2) Selecting the SMS Notice Period for Your Account

SMS reminders can be sent 1, 2, 3 or 4 days in advance of the appointment. A default notice period is set for all clients entered into your account, and then this setting can be edited on a client-by-client basis.

  1. Setup >> Configuration >> Reminders
  2. "Send Reminders" - Select 1, 2, 3 or 4 days from the drop-down box.
  3. Click "Save"

HINT: This change will automatically apply all existing clients and appointments as well as new ones you enter.

 

(3) Types of SMS Reminders

There are two types of SMS reminders available: Type 1: Reminder Only; Type 2: Reminder and Confirmation.

 

Type 1: Reminder Only

This reminder type sends an SMS reminding the client of their appointment but does not require the client to reply to the message. Reminder content can be customised to your needs however a typical Type 1 SMS might read:

"Hi {ClientFirstName}, This is a reminder of your appt at {AppointmentStartTime} on {AppointmentDate} at {AppointmentLocationName}. Please do not reply to this message. Thanks."

 

Type 2: Reminder with Confirmation Request

This reminder type sends an SMS reminding the client of their appointment and also requests the client replies to the message to confirm or cancel their appointment.  Reminder content can be customised to your needs however a typical Type 2 SMS might read:

"Hi {ClientFirstName}, This is a reminder of your appt at {AppointmentStartTime} on {AppointmentDate} at {AppointmentLocationName}. Please reply Yes to confirm, No to cancel. Thanks."

When the client replies your diary is automatically updated with their response, and the appointment status changes colour (Green = Confirmed; Red = Cancelled).  Power Diary can also automatically alert the staff member via SMS that an appointment has been cancelled.

 

Unusual Replies Sent to Your Phone:  If a client doesn't reply with 'yes' or 'no', but instead sends something back like: "Can I come 15mins later?" by default the SMS will be forwarded to your mobile.  The forwarded SMS is charged at the standard SMS rate but we think it is well worth it given this should only happen occasionally. If you want though you can turn this notification off by going to Setup >> Diaries and under Settings change "Forward SMS Replies" to "Do Not Notify".

 

(4) Customising Your Reminder Content

The content of your SMS reminders can be customised to meet your business needs.  An SMS is 160 characters in length however to save money we recommend keeping SMS reminders to 130 characters. This ensures they do not exceed 160 characters once additional information such as the client's name and appointment details are added.  SMS reminders that exceed 160 characters will be sent as two messages and as such incur additional charges.

You can edit or change your SMS appointment reminder content at any time as follows:

  1. Go to Tools >> Communication >> Templates and select an SMS template to edit or "Add New Template"
  2. Edit or add your desired content (including any merge fields) and click Save.
  3. Go to Setup >> Configuration>> Reminders and under Client Appointment Reminder Settings select your desired "SMS Reminder Template"
  4. Click Save.

HINT: There is also a shortcut to edit your SMS reminder template as follows: Setup >> Configuration>> Reminders and under Client Appointment Reminder Settings select "Edit" next to the template you would like to edit.

 

(5) Changing SMS Reminder Settings for Individual Clients and Appointments

The default account settings for SMS reminders can be overridden for individual clients and appointments.

 

Turning SMS On / Off, changing the notice period, or changing the reminder type for an individual client

  1. Access the client record (use the search field at the top of the page)
  2. Scroll down to "Communicate"
  3. Use the options in this area to turn on or off appointments reminders, change the period, or change the reminder method
  4. Scroll up and 'Save Client Record'

Turning SMS Reminders On / Off for an Individual Appointment

  1. Click on the appointment in the main diary.
  2. In the Appointment Panel on the right-side of the screen Tick / Untick the "Send Reminder" box.
  3. Click "Save"

HINT: Appointments with a "Blue Phone" symbol indicate that an SMS reminder will be sent for that appointment.  Appointments with a "Red Phone" symbol indicate that no reminders are due to be sent for that appointment.